Tag Archives: KC/IABC

A Lesson in Rebranding for Communicators of Every Career Stage

Posted in Best Practices, Laura's Posts

I had the privilege of attending the KC/IABC’s monthly breakfast this August. The topic, Rebrand for Success, is one every communicator can learn from, despite career stage.

Presented by branding expert, Clifton Alexander of REACTOR Design Studio, the presentation provided me with a better and deeper understanding of the rebranding process. Here are a few key takeaways:


  • Are you ready for a rebrand?
    Clifton recommends asking yourself and/or your client this question right off the bat. It’s important to understand what a brand is and what a rebrand consists of. Do you want a light brand refresh to give your organization a more modern look, or do you need to do a complete overhaul of the brand starting from scratch?


  • Identify and examine all aspects of the current brand by asking questions such as:
    - Is the brand consistent across all channels?
    - What is the brand personality?
    - Is it timeless/enduring?
    - How do others view the brand and organization?


  • Ensure a smooth brand launch.
    Rebranding does not occur overnight, and it takes time and dedication to ensure a smooth launch. Develop a launch strategy that strengthens the new or refreshed brand by remaining transparent throughout the process. Remember: be intentional with launch timing, and be sure to share the new brand with all internal audiences before revealing it to external audiences.

Have a key tip or best practice regarding rebranding or a successful rebrand story? Share it with us on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you!

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Comments Off Posted on by Laura Jung

Building Audience Personas

Posted in Executive Insights, Integrated Marketing (IMC), Tricia's Posts

In his book, “[What’s the Future] of Business? Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences,” author Brian Solis states:

“Without understanding what matters to customers and why, without learning their behavior or decision-making cycles, and without empathy, we cannot create a meaningful and engaging customer experience.”

In order to move customers to action, we as communicators need to get inside their minds and hearts, and speak to them in a language that resonates. I’ve found building audience personas is an effective strategy for gaining audience insights, gleaning what’s important to them and guiding key message development.

So, what's included in an effective audience persona? At Morningstar Communications, we look at a mix of factors:

       • Demographics
       • Work life and responsibilities
       • What’s important to the individual
       • How he or she perceives the organization

By filling in the answers to these factors, and pairing them with information gleaned straight from those who matter most to the business, we gain the information needed to create impactful personas that guide our messaging and strategy.

Interested in learning more? On May 15, KC PR consultant and former Morningstarian Matt Tidwell, APR, and myself will present on strategic planning and building audience personas at KC/IABC's professional development luncheon. Join us as we dive further into personas and their role in key messaging and execution.

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Comments Off Posted on by Tricia McKim

Bronze Quill Awards 2012

Posted in Community Leadership I was proud to represent Morningstar Communications at the 2012 KC/IABC Bronze Quill Awards ceremony on May 3 at The Uptown Theatre. The Bronze Quill Awards promote personal and professional growth and recognize excellence in the field of business communication. Various agencies and corporations around the area entered their work into the contest and, just as in years past, there were some outstanding entries. Morningstar Communications brought home two awards for excellent client work:
  • Award of Merit for Hallmark Business Connections Webinar Series
  • Award of Merit for Youth Entrepreneurs Kansas Quarterly E-newsletter.
Our client, Stinson Morrison Hecker, also received an award of Merit for its 2011 Holiday Greeting e-card. The night also featured special individual awards honoring leaders in the communications community. Along with other former Arthur E. Lowell award recipients, our own Eric Morgenstern co-presented the 2012 Arthur E. Lowell award to Mike Goff, who was most recently vice president of corporate marketing for Sprint. Thursday’s event was a great celebration acknowledging winning nominees’ hard work over the past year. It was also a wonderful networking event where I was able to meet some of the best business communicators in the city as well as spend time away from the office with my wonderful, intelligent clients and co-workers. Tagged , , ,
Comments Off Posted on by Archives

Mobile Friendly Websites: Why now is the time.

Posted in Online Marketing

I recently attended KC/IABC’s 2012 Business Communicators Summit.  A common topic at the conference was understanding and using technology to best reach our audiences.

Website mobile compatibility is one technology component that many businesses still avoid. Without a mobile compatible website, companies lose out on prospects, plain and simple. They also risk losing current customers who will quickly move on if they don’t have quick and clear access to the information they are seeking.

The mobile world is expanding too rapidly to discount the effect it will have. Skyrocket’s diagram, derived from Google data, clearly draws out why now is the time to get friendly with mobile.


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Comments Off Posted on by Tracey Anderson

Recognizing the Best

Posted in Community Leadership

My mind has been a bit preoccupied with all things Bronze Quill lately – the Gala is only a month away. In my last post, I encouraged people to enter their work into the contest. We received a whole batch of outstanding entries that are in the judging process right now. Good luck to all who entered.

Soon after the judging is finished, we announce the winners at the Bronze Quill Gala. It is on May 6 at the Clubhouse on Baltimore. I’d love for you to join us. It’s a fun evening where you can meet old friends and grow your network. Plus we have a tasty hors d’oeuvres buffet and drinks. Not a bad way to spend a Friday night.

Thanks for letting me donate my post to KC/IABC’s 2011 Bronze Quill awards gala. If you make it, stop by to say hi. I’d love to meet all with those I’ve communicated with over email or through Luminary Blog in person.

Hope to see you there!

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Comments Off Posted on by Rachel Spear

“When walking along the edge of the ethical ocean, don’t let your knees get wet.”

Posted in Best Practices, Executive Insights

“When walking along the edge of the ethical ocean, don’t let your knees get wet.” This was the answer I gave the panel of very accomplished practitioners when asked how I define ethics as part of my “test” to get into to the PRSA College of Fellows. It worked; I was elected in 2001. I hope this concept works for you, too.

I’m leading a discussion tomorrow entitled, “Your Professional GPS: Navigating the Twists and Turns of Business Ethics at the Business Communicators Summit for KC/ IABC. I’m truly honored to serve both as a teacher (during my breakout) and a student (the line-up of speakers is terrific … kudos to Donna Schwartze and our local chapter).

I’ve been asked to share 10 real-world ethical case studies from my personal experiences during my 30-plus year career. I have so many stories, ranging from the time a job candidate sent me a dozen long-stemmed red roses with her follow-up note (she did not get the job) to learning how to work with colleagues who I’d seen steal, cheat, and lie (I left that job pretty quickly) to guiding clients to embrace transparency (not easy for privately-owned businesses, but worth it in the long-term.)

There are very few scenarios where murder, stealing and adultery can be justified as proper ethical choices. But most of the decisions that we make each day aren’t quite that simple.

For example, how many hours do we actually bill for a track-time project that took longer – or not as long – as we initially thought? Which employee gets to work on the cool, new client? Do we work for ABC Company, even though we don’t fully embrace everything they do? And the list goes on and on. We’ll discuss all of these – and more – tomorrow.

Photo credit: Webshots

Back to the ethical shoreline. Unlike simple binary choices, most ethical business decisions are much more like a shoreline – with a small area that’s both wet and dry, depending on the exact circumstances. So when working through those questions, don’t wait until your mouth is barely above water; once your toes, feet and ankles get wet, it’s probably time to step back safely onto shore.

How do you establish your own ethical code of conduct? Is every decision based on “situational ethics,” or do you believe there are straightforward rules that should be followed in every circumstance.

While I’m honored and humbled to lead this discussion, I’m eager to learn from my colleagues about exactly how they establish their personal ethical shorelines.

Onward and upward.

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2 Comments Posted on by Eric Morgenstern

Recognizing the Best in Communications

Posted in Community Leadership

As communicators, we know the importance of sharing messages in multiple channels with the goal of reaching people in ways that’s convenient for them. It’s an integral part of being recipient-oriented (one of the three key factors of effective key messages, with the other two being simple and easy to articulate).

A piece of my role here at Morningstar Communications is involvement in professional organizations. It gives me the opportunity to connect with other communicators to share ideas and gather best practices. The way I chose to be active is through a leadership role on the Board of KC/IABC where I’m planning the Bronze Quill Awards.

The Bronze Quills recognize excellence in communication. I encourage you to enter your best work from last year and strive for a Bronze Quill to place on your desk. Not only will it recognize your hard work, it also increases your credibility as a communicator. Winning a Bronze Quill is recognition you completed some of the best in business communications in the city.

So the reason I’m using my blog post to share this information is using another channel to spread the word about the 2011 Bronze Quill Awards and encourage people to participate. The online entry system is ready to accept your entry.

The award ceremony is May 6 at the Clubhouse on Baltimore and is a great place to network and see what others in the industry are have been up to. Hope to see you there.

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Comments Off Posted on by Rachel Spear
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